The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begets a wise child shall have joy of him.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him; especially if he is wise in the best things; if he is wise unto salvation; he may be wise and knowing in things natural, have a good share of wit and sense, and be wise in worldly things, which may yield a pleasure to a natural man his parent; but, if he is a good man, he will have greater joy of his son if he is wise in the first sense. The mother and grandmother of Timothy had no doubt great joy of him, who, from a child, knew the holy Scriptures; and so had the elect lady of her children, who were walking in the truth; and so has our heavenly Father of his children, who are righteous and wise through his grace.The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Verse 24. - The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice. The father of a righteous son who has won truth and profited by the possession has good cause to be glad (Proverbs 10:1). Septuagint erroneously, "A righteous father brings up children well." The second clause repeats the first in different words, with the further idea that the wise son affords his father practical proof of the excellence of his moral training. The contrast is seen in Proverbs 17:21.
17 Let not thine heart strive after sinners,
But after the fear of Jahve all the day.
18 Truly there is a future,
And thy hope shall not come to naught.
The lxx, Jerome, the Venet., and Luther, and the Arab. interpreters, render 17b as an independent clause: "but be daily in the fear of the Lord." That is not a substantival clause (cf. Proverbs 22:7), nor can it be an interjectional clause, but it may be an elliptical clause (Fleischer: from the prohibitive אל־תקנא is to be taken for the second parallel member the v. subst. lying at the foundation of all verbs); but why had the author omitted היה dettim? Besides, one uses the expressions, to act (עשׂה), and to walk (הלך) in the fear of God, but not the expression to be (היה) in the fear of God. Thus בּיראת, like בחטּאים, is dependent on אל־תּקנּא; and Jerome, who translates: Non aemuletur cor tuum peccatores, sed in timore Domini esto tota die, ought to have continued: sed timorem Domini tota die; for, as one may say in Latin: aemulari virtutes, as well as aemulari aliquem, so also in Heb. קנּא ב, of the envying of those persons whose fortune excites to dissatisfaction, because one has not the same, and might yet have it, Proverbs 3:31; Proverbs 24:1, Proverbs 24:19, as well as of emulation for a thing in which one might not stand behind others: envy not sinners, envy much rather the fear of God, i.e., let thyself be moved with eager desire after it when its appearance is presented to thee. There is no O.T. parallel for this, but the Syr. tan and the Greek ζηλοτυποῦν are used in this double sense. Thus Hitzig rightly, and, among the moderns, Malbim; with Aben Ezra, it is necessary to take ביראת for באישׁ יראת, this proverb itself declares the fear of God to be of all things the most worthy of being coveted.
In Proverbs 23:18, Umbreit, Elster, Zckler, and others interpret the כּי as assigning a reason, and the אם as conditioning: for when the end (the hour of the righteous judgment) has come; Bertheau better, because more suitable to the ישׁ and the אחרית: when an end (an end adjusting the contradictions of the present time) comes, as no doubt it will come, then thy hope will not be destroyed; but, on the other hand, the succession of words in the conclusion (vid., at Proverbs 3:34) opposes this; also one does not see why the author does not say directly כי ישׁ אחרית, but expresses himself thus conditionally.
If אם is meant hypothetically, then, with the lxx ἐὰν γὰρ τηρήσῃς αὐτὰ ἔκγονα, we should supply after it תּשׁמרנּה, that had fallen out. Ewald's: much rather there is yet a future (Dchsel: much rather be happy there is...), is also impossible; for the preceding clause is positive, not negative. The particles כּי אם, connected thus, mean: for if (e.g., Lamentations 3:32); or also relatively: that if (e.g., Jeremiah 26:15). After a negative clause they have the meaning of "unless," which is acquired by means of an ellipsis; e.g., Isaiah 55:10, it turns not back thither, unless it has watered the earth (it returns back not before then, not unless this is done). This "unless" is, however, used like the Lat. nisi, also without the conditioning clause following, e.g., Genesis 28:17, hic locus non est nisi domus Dei. And hence the expression כי אם, after the negation going before, acquires the meaning of "but," e.g., 17b: let not thy heart be covetous after sinners, for thou canst always be zealous for the fear of God, i.e., much rather for this, but for this. This pleonasm of אם sometimes occurs where כי is not used confirmatively, but affirmatively: the "certainly if" forms the transition, e.g., 1 Kings 20:6 (vid., Keil's Comm. l.c.), whose "if" is not seldom omitted, so that כי אם has only the meaning of an affirmative "certainly," not "truly no," which it may also have, 1 Samuel 25:34, but "truly yes." Thus כי אם is used Judges 15:7; 2 Samuel 15:21 (where אם is omitted by the Kerı̂); 2 Kings 5:20; Jeremiah 51:14; and thus it is also meant here, 18a, notwithstanding that כי אם, in its more usual signification, "besides only, but, nisi," precedes, as at 1 Samuel 21:6, cf. 5. The objection by Hitzig, that with this explanation: "certainly there is a future," Proverbs 23:18 and Proverbs 23:17 are at variance, falls to the ground, if one reflects on the Heb. idiom, in which the affirmative signification of כי is interpenetrated by the confirmative. אחרית used thus pregnantly, as here (Proverbs 24:14), is the glorious final issue; the word in itself designates the end into which human life issues (cf. Psalm 37:37.); here, the end crowning the preceding course. Jeremiah (Jeremiah 29:11) in this sense connects אחרית ותקוה [end and expectation]. And what is here denied of the תּקיה, the hope (not as certain Jewish interpreters dream, the thread of life) of him who zealously strives after the fear of God, is affirmed, at Psalm 37:38, of the godless: the latter have no continuance, but the former have such as is the fulfilling of his hope.
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